Cookbook 100: Eat Well on $4/Day: Good and Cheap

This is another recent kickstarter project, Eat Well on $4/Day: Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown – second edition now available.  The idea behind this project was to provide a cheap or free cookbook to those with limited incomes, in order to help them find seasonal recipes that they can cook at low cost to themselves.  I liked the idea behind the project, and I acknowledge that there are issues, some people with limited incomes may not be able to store foodstuffs, or afford containers to store foodstuffs, but it is a good idea nonetheless.

The link above also has a link to the free .pdf of the book, apparently it’s not print friendly yet, and that’s something that is being worked on.  You can also submit your own recipes which, in the future will be hosted on the site.

The book is quite US centric, but not with hard to find ingredients.  It’s in US Imperial, which is annoying but not too bad as most recipes refer to spoon and cup measurements, which means that if you consistently use Australian measurements, you should be ok.

The only criticism I have of this book, so far, is that the amount of chilli recommended in the Vegetarian Jambalaya that I cooked.  It was TOO hot to eat, and I don’t mind chilli in my food.  I’d recommend starting with a quarter of the amount of cayenne pepper called for, and increasing to taste.  The full teaspoon was too much – even though it was delicious under that.  I will make this again, but with much less chilli.  Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.

Vegetarian Jambalaya


  • 2 tbsp vegetable poil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or lots less)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup long grain rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock

Additions (optional)

  • slices of fried sausage
  • shrimp
  • leftover meat, tofu, or beans


  1. Start with the oil in a large high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, pepper, and celery, then cook for about 5 minutes, until they become translucent but not brown.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the rice and broth.  Let everything cook for about 1 minute to let some of the tomato juice release.
  3. Add the rice and slowly pour in the broth.  Reduce the heat to medium and let the dish cook until the rice absorbs all the liquid.  It should take about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. If you’re using any of the additions, throw them in at about the 15 minute mark to let them warm up.

Notes on this recipe:

  • If you LOVE chilli, leave the cayenne as it is, if you don’t mind a bit of spice, reduce it substantially.  Next time I make this I’m going to only use 1/4 teaspoon of it.
  • I do want to make this again, but it did appear to be REALLY tasty.

Filipino Chicken Adobo


  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups white riace
  • salt
  • 2 tsp cornflour


  • 4 jalapenos
  • ginger root, grated


  • 1 1/2 lb (680g) pork shoulder or butt, cubed instead of chicken
  • 1 can coconut milk instead of water
  • chicken schmaltz instead of vegetable oil


  1. In a large, non-aluminium pan, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, pepper and bay leaves.  Add the chicken, coating each piece thoroughly.  Cover and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is great.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade (keep the marinade) and pate each piece of chicken dry with paper towel.
  3. Pour the oil into a large pot on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add enough chicken to fill the bottom of the pot.  Let it cook for a few minutes, until one side of the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and repeat with the remainder.
  4. After all the chicken is browned, put it back in the pot along with the marinade, water, potatoes, and carrots.  Turn the heat up until the liquid comes to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the meat near the bone is no longer pink and the carrots and potatoes are cooked through.
  5. About 20 minutes before the adobo is ready, pour the rice into a medium pot with 4 cups of water.  Add two pinches of salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat with the lid off.  Turn the heat down and cover with a lid that is slightly askew to let the steam escape.  Cook about 20 minutes, until the water is all gone.
  6. Remove the bay leaves from the adobo.  In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water, then stir it into the sauce.  Let the sauce boil and thicken until the chicken and vegetables are well glazed. Serve over the rice.

Notes on this recipe:

  • We swapped out the water for coconut milk and it was incredible.  We also took all the skin off the chicken because we wanted the marinade to penetrate as much as possible.  The recipe wasn’t clear on whether the skin should be on or off, so we made our own mind up on that one.
  • This recipe is quite simple and delicious.  We had enough left to have with a vegetable stirfry the next night too.